Trump Speaks at New York Economic Club; Trump Tax Return L:atest. Aired 12:30-1p ET



L:atest. Aired 12:30-1p ET>

[12:30:01] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- it seems to be new at least. From a political perspective, what did you hear here? I thought it was fascinating. He opened up his remarks in front of the economic club touting his poll numbers.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, that was vintage Trump, of course. When the polls are in his direction, he does like to tout them. But -- what I saw here was sort of inherent contradiction what he was trying to do, because he was speaking to a very wealthy group, the New York Economic Club.

But he was trying to focus so much of his appeal on middle class and working families. He kept coming back to that language and sort of the rejection thematically of globalism in favor of Americanism and trying to really hone in on the middle class and working class.

But then you heard sort of to some laughter in the room it sounded like to my ears when he finally did turn to the corporate tax reform, to lowering the rate, that money overseas would be taxed in terms of bringing it back here. He said, "I know this is what this room really wanted to hear," and made sure to note that taxes would not be going up at all.

So, he was sort of speaking to a room that was made up of one economic variety, different than what I think his overall message was, trying to sort of hit working class and middle themes.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Austan Goolsbee, you know, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Adviser under President Obama. There's some stuff in the speech which to needs to be fact checked both factually and mathematically as it turns out.

First, Donald Trump was talking about a foreign plant, that Ford is opening a plant in Mexico, and yesterday -- and today he seemed to indicate that jobs -- those jobs would be leaving the United States for Mexico.

Ford put out a statement and said, "You know, yes we are opening a plant in Mexico, but the plant in Wayne, Michigan that was making these cars, so just going to start making other cars." Ford says, "Not a single job will be lost there."

And secondly, on the tax cuts themselves which is something that oftentimes political candidates propose. I mean sometimes Republicans, mostly Republicans, often Democrats do too. But he claims that people who make $5 million or more, they're going to pay the same in taxes.

It's unclear to me how that exists if he's cutting the rate, from 39 percent, the top rate from 39 percent to 33 percent. It seems like rich people are going to get a big tax cut.

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTER AND ECONOMIC ADVISER: Of course they are. He's not including the massive tax cuts for businesses. He's not including that he wants to repeal the estate tax that would benefit his own family by some $3 billion or $4 billion. So, you're being generous to say that it needs to be fact checked.

My Trump policy rule is we should spend less time analyzing Trump's ideas than he spent thinking the ideas up that we've already violated my Trump rule by the end of this segment. I do not believe that he's even checked the details of his own plan, because you heard him saying that the benefits of the tax cut would be concentrated in the middle class and it's just, that's not even remotely true.

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey Lord?

JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I can hear my two late bosses, their ghosts, of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp shrieking in my ear at this point answer ...

BOLDUAN: What are they shrieking?

LORD: They are shrieking answer, answer, answer. Tax cuts do, in fact, produce jobs. The 1980s and the Reaganomics, as Ronald Reagan said when it took off he said, "Well, they don't call it Reaganomics anymore." And there was a reason for that, because it launched decades of economic growth in this country.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it can bring about 4 percent growths just tax cuts, and you think it will be deficit neutral?

BERMAN: Well, I think Reaganomics you can say it produced growth, but it absolutely produced deficits, Jeffrey. And Donald Trump is promising deficit neutral.

LORD: Because he was ending the Cold War. And he made the decision -- he made the decision deliberately that it was a good idea to end the Cold War, which all sorts of other people said could not be done. He said, we win, they lose. They said that unrealistic.

So yeah, and you do have to cut the budget. And remember, he didn't have control of the Congress either. He didn't have control over the House, which controls the purse strings. So Tip O'Neill was not about to be cutting budgets the way Ronald Reagan wanted them cut. I certainly remember those battles.

BERMAN: Look, you say -- I mean Donald Trump is proposed to be increasing military spending as well here, you know, not Cold War levels, but he's increasing military spending while cutting taxes and keeping a deficit neutral.

Gloria Borger, I want to bring you in here. What do you make of this speech? And, again, the idea, people are going to argue, Austan, for instance that what he says here is factually impossible, misleading and not factually accurate. On the same time, you know, once an economic speech that Donald Trump delivered for 40 minutes on T.V.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, right, so, OK. Give Donald Trump credit for that. On the deficit conversation, we were just having, you know, you want to talk about 4 percent growth which is, by the way what Jeb Bush talked about during the campaign.

No cuts at all to entitlements. Entitlements completely exempted. No reductions at all to defense spending. And this presumption as Jeffrey says that if you cut taxes it will raise growth.

[12:35:07] The question is and Jeffrey made the point that you need to have a Republican Congress to cut the budget. Well, Bush had opportunities to cut the budget, George W. Bush. And you know members of Congress as well as I do. Everybody on this panel does. They're not going to vote to cut the budget. That's why, you know, that's why we have a budget bill that hasn't been approved, you know, that you had these levels that are imposed on Congress because they don't have the will to do anything on social security, on Medicare.

You have a plan proposed by Paul Ryan which includes changes to entitlements. And the Republican nominee has not paid any attention whatsoever to that.

BOLDUAN: And as we did -- sorry, go ahead, Gloria. Sorry.

BORGER: No, no, no. I was just going to say, so he kind of leaves Republican orthodoxy behind, but it's difficult for me to see that this wouldn't cost an awful lot of money to, you know, to Americans and also, by the way, the trade policy, you know, the question is would it, in the end, cost American jobs if you get involved in trade wars.

BOLDUAN: I see you nodding your head, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And the answer is yes. I mean, the answer is yes if you -- when you talk about tariffs and you talk about trade barriers and renegotiating trade deals and filing trade complaints, it makes people very nervous. And by people, I mean people, who hire, but people who build factories and people who sell things and import things, export things and import things.

And all the analysis is, you know, new analysis this morning from Oxford economics it would cost a trillion -- do a trillion dollar hole in the economy over five years cost four million jobs and drive down consumers spending in this country by 4 percent.

And now, the team Trump says, "You know, economists get it wrong. They get it wrong a lot and we don't believe that analysis." But that is the conventional wisdom. Now, when he talked about having trade wars and tariffs, that will hurt the very workers who he's talking about, who he thinks they're getting the job ...

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, there was an irony ...

BERMAN: So back to Jeffrey Lord who, you know, who brought up the Reagan year.


BERMAN: It is something that Republicans point ...


BERMAN: ... to tax cuts creating jobs there.


BERMAN: But there had been tax cuts since then.

FOROOHAR: Well, that's what I'm saying. The last 20 years of evidence shows you that tax cuts do not create growth. It didn't happen in 2001, 2003, under W. or under Obama.

There's also, you know, respectfully I think some intellectual incoherence here on the Republican side because tax cuts without cuts on the one hand without cuts in spending just don't work.

I mean under the two terms of Reagan, the debt -- the national debt was three times what it was before. So, you know, the math simply isn't working and people don't want to make the hard decisions of what program are you going to cut.

BOLDUAN: Right, but here's the thing, he is running to be president, everyone, Austan Goolsbee. And you know what actually gets people to like you, saying you're going to cut taxes because you're going to help them out often.

GOOLSBEE: Well, yes. There is a certain irony that Ronald Reagan's chairman of his council, the economic advisers was there in the audience. And I don't know if you saw the survey that they did in "The Wall Street Journal."

They reached out and contacted every living chair or member that was a Republican of the Council of Economic Advisers, of all previous decades. There was not a single Republican economist that has served in the government, including Ronald Reagan's chair of his CEA who would say that they're a supporter of Donald Trump. It's because his program is actually nonsense. If you believe it's going to work, then you believe in "Jack's Magic Beanstalk" beans because that's what he's giving us.

BERMAN: Jeffrey Lord, is this "Jack's Magic Beanstalk?"

LORD: No, no, and this is -- I mean, this is an old argument. This is what was said when Reagan was president.

BERMAN: Except -- they're have been a difference here, again, is Ronald Reagan did it while increasing the deficit. He didn't promise deficit neutral. And also, Ronald Reagan was willing to tinker with the entitlements in a way that Donald Trump says isn't going to happen. Those aren't just minor differences.


BERMAN: Those are the whole ball game.

LORD: Look, he's got people -- I mean, I have to believe this being an economic speech that somebody like Larry Kudlow was involved with this, who worked for Ronald Reagan. I have to believe that Steve Moore who's a conservative now with the Heritage Foundation and with -- he used to be with "The Wall Street Journal," were advising on this.

And if I could -- I just want to say something about the political impact of this. You look at a state like Pennsylvania, which is up for grabs. At a rally the other day in Pennsylvania, he introduced this woman who had lost her job because the company took off for Mexico from Pennsylvania.

I talked to the president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association who tells me that one of the biggest of their concerns is Chinese military hacking of western Pennsylvania companies to get their data. Meaning, they're not trustworthy on trade deals.

So when you listen to this and you translate it back to getting votes, which is what he's going to do in Pennsylvania, this kind of speech is very helpful.

BOLDUAN: Mark, due to the -- to kind of -- to Jeffrey's point, do the details matter? I mean, yes, as we talk about details of lots of things, tax returns, medical records, all the things. They should matter, but do they matter?

[12:40:14] MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Couple things, one is, is that the speech came a little late I think in the campaign. In the sense that we only have, now, 53 days or what have you to actually dissect it and what the American people really understand. Because to your point earlier Donald Trump talks about cutting taxes. We all want to see our taxes cut. Whether you're wealthy or you're poor, right? I mean, you feel like you're giving too much back to the government.

But what -- why this is important to know and we'll see what happens with the Democrats and if they're able to cut ads against it and what have you is that these numbers don't really add up. You know, the experts are sitting at this table and all throughout the city and throughout the country say listen, these numbers are not going to work. That's really important. Because all we've heard from Trump are these glowing very broad visions of how he's going to make America great again. And just in this past week, we've seen two policy proposals. This and his child care proposal which is now coming under attack.

BERMAN: All right guys, stick around, there's a lot more to talk about, about this policy proposal. Also, a lot more to talk about from a statement that Donald Trump Jr. made today, explaining why he now thinks his father is not releasing his tax returns. In a nutshell, it's because it would hurt him politically. We'll discuss, next.


[12:45:15] BOLDUAN: We've been talking about tax policy. Let's talk about taxes. Or Donald Trump's taxes. His tax returns.

A new excuse coming from Donald Trump's family on why he is not releasing his returns. Donald Trump Jr. told the "Pittsburgh Tribune Review" this about his taxes. He said this, "Because he's got a 12,000 page tax return that would create financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would distract from his father's main message."

BERMAN: I want to bring in a new panel right now joining us. From CNN Politics, Maeve Reston, our political director David Chalian, Early Start star Christine Romans, Rana Foroohar, Gloria Borger. They are back.

Maeve, let me start with you. This is a new excuse from the Trump family about the taxes. Donald Trump Sr. says he can't release his taxes because he is under audit. Now to be clear, we haven't seen proof that he is in fact under audit. We're taking him at his word or we're being forced to take him at his word for that. Being under audit doesn't preclude you from releasing your taxes. But now his son is saying no, no, it's not that, it's because the tax returns could be politically damaging. You know, what did Donald Trump Jr. just do to his father politically?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, it was kind of an unfortunate statement for the Trumps in that sense because over and over again the argument has been used about the audit. But what Donald Trump Jr. is actually true. It probably would distract some Donald Trump message. There probably are lots of things in there that all of us reporters would like to comb through and understand about Donald Trump's tax returns.

And so it's making it harder for him to go out there and keep making that argument that he's under audit, that's the only reason why people can't see them. It's a transparency problem for his campaign. And there are huge transparency issues both with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's campaign.

BOLDUAN: So David, did Donald Trump Jr. just commit the sin of telling the truth? I mean, how big a deal is this?

CHALIAN: I think he did. I think we finally got the most honest explanation of why those tax returns are not being presented to the American people. And as Maeve said, you know, Donald Trump Jr. is no doubt right, it would be distracting. You heard Steve King say, you know, I wished you would done it months ago. Now it's too late because it would become distracting.

You know, I don't - yeah, I think it was pretty clear to anyone paying attention. I don't think Donald Trump ever intended to release his tax returns. And I think he was, you know, been searching for various excuses for that. But now this new language from Donald Trump Jr. certainly should be put to his father, questioned, see if he agrees with his son's assessment.

BERMAN: Guys, we just got an update about Hillary Clinton. She just left her home in Chappaqua, New York. She's headed to the airport in White Plains where she'll head to North Carolina. She's got about a 10, 15 minute drive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know that?

BERMAN: I hear from her home to the airport right now so we should see her in just a few minutes. So let's keep an eye on that picture down there on your screen because it will be interesting to see if she takes questions or talk to the press before she gets on that plane.

In the meantime, Christine Romans, Rana Foroohar, we have two esteemed economic experts here who know a lot about taxes and tax returns. Hey Christine Romans, Donald Trump's tax return, again, these 12,000 pages, just remind us what they would tell us or what types of things they would tell us and why, in Donald Trump Jr.'s words, it may be such a distraction from his father's poll.

ROMANS: They would give us a valuable insight into how much money he pays, what is his effective tax rate, how much money does he give to charity, what are his financial entanglement, where is the money coming from, his income coming from. And just -- I mean the tax rate is what's really interesting to me. You know, we know that real estate developers in particular have very creative kind of tax rules. Honestly that, you know ...

FOROOHAR: Charitable way to put it.

ROMANS: ... you know, and what about his charity donations. We got a lot of work here taking a look at his foundation.


ROMANS: But personally, does Donald Trump give to charity. You know it's almost performer for somebody who's running for president for years before they run for office they are very careful. What makes you sure they give a lot of money away.

BOLDUAN: That's your point. Everyone in America tries to get the lowest tax rate possible. You know ...


BOLDUAN: ... no matter what, creative or not. Everyone's trying. And he even said that. Of course, I'm paraphrasing. Of course I work the system to my advantage. Everyone would do that.

FOROOHAR: Absolutely. But you know what, I suspect that what you would see is a very low tax rate, overall tax rate, and what that would point to is something that every American can't do. Most of us make money on income that we earned in a check that gets paid every two weeks or so.

The one percent of the world and particular, the financiers and the real estate investors make money on money. And there's a lot of creative ways that you can hide money overseas. I mean, poor Mitt Romney looking like a paradigm now at this point, you know ...

BERMAN: The tax rates.

FOROOHAR: Yeah. Money in offshore tax havens which then of course would create a problem for somebody just playing the populism card. The, you know, America first card, the trade card. Oh, but is he hiding money overseas? That's the kind of question would be ask.

[12:50:09] BERMAN: Gloria Borger, I want to you in the situation because the charitable giving has really become an increasing issue ...


BERMAN: .... on the campaign. What is "The Washington Post" ...


BERMAN: "The Washington Post" doing a reporting, trying to track down exactly how much charity, how much Donald Trump has donated to charity from his own pocket over the years. You know, we've learned that since 2008, and Drew Griffin reported this too, Donald Trump hasn't given any of his own money to his own foundation, right. and fair with though in others have had a hard time tracking down the tens of millions of dollars that Mike Pence says that Donald Trump has given to charity. You know, that could be the type of thing that is or is not in his tax returns.

BORGER: In fact, according to the great reporting from "The Washington Post" he is taken money into his foundation and then donated money from the foundation in his own name that was not his own money. And so I think this would obviously be an area of interest in the tax returns.

To me, what would be the most interesting, and we're not going to get it now, and this is also the reason why most candidates try and release their tax returns as early as they can. Is that, you know, we're not going to get the details of the foreign entanglements. We're not going to know, you know, whom he does business with. And I think that is a large question particularly since the Trump campaign has raised an awful lot of questions about the Clinton Foundation and who the Clinton Foundation takes money from, and that would be doing business with, right.

And I think that in light of all these criticisms and, you know, the fact that the Trump Organization is international, that the questions about who he does business with are important particularly if he gets elected, and becomes president of the United States, and his children say they're going to take over the company. Well, what does that mean? You know, I think the public has the right to know. BERMAN: Right now, those are questions without answers. Guys, stick around, more to discuss. Just in to CNN, on the top Democrat in the Senate just unleashed on Donald Trump, calling him a human leech who would bleed the country and I'm told he didn't stop there. All of the details next.



HARRY REID: Let's be clear about Donald Trump. He's a spoiled brat raised in plenty who inherited a fortune, used his money to make more money and he did a lot of it by swindling working men and women. Trump is a human leech who will bleed the country and sit at his golf resort laughing at the money he has made. Even though working people have been hurt and wound.


BERMAN: That's the outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sparing no words for Donald Trump.

[12:55:06] Joining us now to discuss Assistant Editor of "The Washington Pot" David Swerdlick. David, thank you so much for being with us. You know, Harry Reid, former boxer, he likes to mix it up and now his target is clearly Donald Trump.

DAVID SWERDLICK, WASHINGTON POST: Yeah. No, Harry Reid likes to make these statements that sort of pull no punches with reference stand being a former boxer. And, you know, that has been the case in a sense that Democrats have been trying to make about Trump all along, right, that he's been perhaps successful at making for himself, but he has not articulated policy specifics that will help the average American.

Senator Reid may have just said it in a more aggressive fashion probably because he sees himself personally as not having a lot to lose my being that blunt.

BOLDUAN: Yes, you've got Harry Reid in the Senate saying that. You've got Donald Trump talking tax policy here in New York. And as you see, in that picture on your screen everyone, you see Hillary Clinton about to get back on the campaign trail.

David, from your perspective, you've got Donald Trump hitting her today, what does she need to do, because everyone is going to be watching her as she makes her first appearance after taking herself off the trail to recover.

SWERDLICK: Yeah. I think really for Clinton it's going to come down to the debate which we're less than two weeks away from. You know, Donald Trump has caught up to her in terms of the polls. And I think part of that is because we're seeing a residual effect from the continued hammering that she's taking on her mishandling of her e- mails while at the state department. I also think Donald Trump has been effective in a way the he wasn't throughout most of this campaign season in staying on message, using teleprompters, not making inflammatory statements that have upset various constituencies, people have call her religious minorities, women, that's not to say that Donald Trump has been controversy free, but he's done a better job of reining himself in the last few weeks.

So, really when we get to the debate is I think when Secretary Clinton is going to have to show that she is offering something superior to Donald Trump.


SWERDLICK: Because Donald Trump does right the people on change.

BERMAN: David Swerdlick for us in Washington. Thank you so much, again, we're waiting for Hillary Clinton to arrive at the airport right now. She heads to North Carolina. When she gets there, we will take you there. We'll see talk to the press. We'll be right back.


(Byline: John Berman, Kate Bolduan, David Chalian, Jeffrey Lord. Gloria Borger, Christine Romans, Rana Foroohar, Mark Preston, Maeve Reston)

(Guest: David Swerdlick, Austan Goolsbee)

(High: Examoining TRrump's speech to the New York Economic Club. Latest on Trump tax return issue.)

(Spec: Donald Trump; Elections; Politics; Policies; Economy; Trade; Jobs; Taxes)